Staying Positive When Things Get Tough
“He will not contend or cry out …”
Jesus has just healed a man with a shriveled hand. In the process he has a dispute with the Pharisees. At the beginning of today’s Gospel passage, these men who seriously lived according to the laws of their religion “went out” and began to plot the death of Jesus, who to them is obviously not concerned with keeping the Law.
What amazement! Jesus doesn’t descend into arguing with them. He doesn’t withdraw to protect himself or to hide. He doesn’t try to reframe his message so it will be more palatable to those plotting his death. Instead he withdraws and quietly carries on with healing, not just one person as in the last healing story, but healing “them all.”
Have you lived in a situation in which you or your plans and beliefs were being attacked? It takes enormous strength of character not to descend into arguing, rationalizing, pleading, capitulating, or just plain being nasty tempered. We might express our ugly or angry feelings to safe persons outside the situation. Nevertheless, a cycle of antipathy and ill will can be started that is difficult to break. And in the end nothing good is accomplished. Sometimes groups have to be dissolved, friendships ruined, marriages broken apart.
Jesus shows us another way. He quietly goes forward doing what his Father has sent him to do. “He will not contend or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets.” I remember once being angry at a group of people who were angry with me. A sister I was working with just laughed and said that was the way it was with this group. Her pleasant attitude shocked me as I realized that it was possible to react differently in the situation. She taught me by her attitude how to be like Jesus, how not to get wrapped up in the problem so much that I could no longer see what had to be done. It was a lesson that freed me from a lot of negative energy.
Jesus, I too have a mission. My life has meaning. I am here for others. Make me capable of gently pursuing the will of God for me. Don’t let me get caught in a negative cycle, but show me a way out into the wide expanse of goodness and trust.
I adore you, Jesus, gentle Healer and good Master.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 1–17: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 268–269). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.